Friday, September 19, 2008

I may be semi-bad ass

I successfully changed BOTH of my bike tires. And, I rode on them ~15miles to prove their integrity to myself.

Oh Yeah!

It all started way back when I had my first flat L, I noticed that the actual tire had a small hole/crack/imperfection in it which I was told was acceptable and I "should be fine."

Well, I have an aversion to riding out to the middle of nowhere where the "should be fine" turns into "completely FUBAR" so I bought new tires. And, I decided to put them on all by myself (or at least make the attempt!).

DAY 1: The front tire

Obviously easy to remove but HOLY HELL I had such a hard time removing the old tire and the new tire was folded up in the package so it was tough getting it to shape up. The new ones were 700x23 (old ones 700x25) and I have never missed 2mm like I did that night. They were so tight, I could barely have any air in the tube and I was SURE I'd get a pinch flat with the shabby job I was doing corralling the tube. It seriously took 1.5hr and my wrists were aching afterwards. I was too tired at the end to properly check for a pinch so I half-assed looked around the rim and pumped it up. SUCCESS! After 100PSI of air it was hard as a rock and shiny as a new penny.

I put off the rear until


I had never taken off the rear wheel ever so I was worried. My TNT coach had dazzled us with his on/off skill but I had never actually tried it and had forgotten where you were supposed to shift, etc. So I found a handy-dandy video which scared the crap out of me (saying if you do it wrong you can mess up the rear derailleur) and got to work. I had to walk away a few times but TADA! The rear wheel was off and I was set out to battle that tire (which I hadn't had the foresight to open up so it could take on a better shape). To my surprise, this was WAY easier than the night before and I had that sucker changed in a few minutes. Putting it back on the bike went smoothly too and I even took a short ride to see if I had jacked up the shifting…all seemed good.

DAY3: The test ride

Went out on my Thur evening ride (which is probably not going to happen much longer since it will start getting dark at 4pm) with only a prayer and a tube. These skinny wheels felt kind of shaky downhill but that was probably mental.

Bottom line: mission accomplished!

I love getting more hands on with my bike. I have never been terribly mechanical but I think that may be because I never tried. It baffles me to think how many things in my life I just assume I'm not good at. I am just getting used to the idea that something I fixed has enough integrity for me to trust with my life (or at least with a pleasant ride). It is a good feeling. Maybe I'll attempt installing that bike computer with cadence that stumped me 6 months ago.

Next bike mechanic mission (which I'll probably save for when I won't be riding outdoors as much) is doing a really thorough cleaning.

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